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Davao City, Philippines

Davao City unfazed by negative foreign travel advisories

June 06, 2019 - Thursday 1:06 PM by Lovely Carillo, Funny Pearl A. Gajunera

Article Banner Image SECURE. Members of Task Force Davao stand guard in front of Davao City Hall. The city government is confident the travel advisories issued by several foreign governments against Mindanao will not affect Davao City. File photo by Manman Dejeto/AFP

DAVAO CITY -- Davao City remains unfazed by the travel advisories issued by several foreign governments warning their citizens from traveling to some parts of Mindanao, even Southern Philippines.

“The travel ban issued by several countries against Mindanao would not scare away foreign investors who plan to put capital in Davao City,” Davao City Investment Promotion Center (DCIPC) Chief Lemuel Ortonio said.

Ortonio said he remains optimistic that the city will continue to attract investors with its improved peace and order condition.

"We reach out to our target clients, investors and potential visitors to Davao City and tell them what the current situation in the city is. Yes, there is a travel advisory, but most of the travel advisories in Mindanao exempted Davao City," he said.

Ortonio said DCIPC aims to continue to attract domestic and foreign investors to this part of Mindanao through a sustained investment campaign which highlights the city’s peace and order condition.

LIFE IS HERE. Davao City continues to be a magnet for tourism and investment opportunities despite the various challenges it has experienced in the past years. Not even the foreign travel advisories can stop the city from being one of the best places to live in the Philippines, but also from fulfilling its promise as an investment haven and its role as the gateway of the BIMP-EAGA. LOVELY CARILLO

DCIPC has closely partnered with the Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) in promoting the city as a tourist attraction and an investment hub.

Through its website, the Government of Canada urged its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines due to the threat of terrorism and the high level of crime.”

The Canadian website was last updated on May 13 this year, almost two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened in jest to “declare” war against Ottawa unless it takes back the garbage it shipped to Manila five years ago.

Duterte showed he meant business when Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued on May 20 a memorandum which directed government officials to refrain from traveling to the North American country.

The said advisory was lifted after the Philippines was able to ship back to Canada on May 30 up to 69 containers of garbage.

The latest Canadian warning advised its citizens to “avoid all travel to Western and Central Mindanao, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, due to the serious threat of terrorist attacks, kidnapping, high levels of criminality, and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups.”

Canada also advised its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Eastern Mindanao for various reasons including “the threat of terrorism, kidnapping, high levels of criminality, and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups.”

“The situation in Eastern Mindanao is relatively more stable than in Western Mindanao,” the advisory said.

It also listed the provinces which it considers to be relatively more stable including Davao del Sur which includes Davao City.

The other provinces which Canada listed as relatively stable are Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Dinagat Island, Misamis Oriental, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the UK Government, in its updated advisory, advised its citizens “against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.” It mentioned the killing of a Dutch national on May 31.

The UK FCO also advised citizens “against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) due to the threat of terrorism.”

The city recently conducted an investment and tourism roadshow in Seoul, Korea where it conducted the Davao City Business Forum participated in by more than 50 Korean businesspeople.